The Age of Aids [home page]

In South Africa, Dr. Glenda Gray explains to Thokozila Sibisi why she is HIV positive.

 

join the discussion: What are your reactions to this film? What are your thoughts on why the world has failed to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS?

Dear FRONTLINE,

I never realized how ignorant Ronald Reagan was until I saw this documentary. Maybe he was a nice guy but clueless. I wonder how many millions died because of his lack of interest and acknowledgment of one of our century's most dreaded and devastating diseases.

louisville, ky

Dear FRONTLINE,

I remember. The friends who got sick. The friends who died. The friends who hid from the world. I remember volunteering at and then running an HIV test clinic - one of the first. Over ten years, I gave out over a thousand positives and my heart broke every time. At first, all I had to offer were condoms and, oh yes, there were a few discreet support groups for them, and a list of physicians who would, oh so quietly, try to treat their growing number. The treatments kept getting better and so did the support.

And I also remember the negatives we sent out into the world with condoms and almost no support to stay negative. That hasn't changed much although condom distribution has virtually disappeared. I remember leaving safe sex brochures at a gay bar only to find them in the trash later that same night. And I remember that bar manager coming in for a test. I remember that no one wanted to deal with the gay men who used needles. And that hasn't changed much. I remember a conversation in which one HIV positive black woman said white women should thank their lucky stars for gay liberation because white gay men no longer had to marry and prove something. I wish all women could be so lucky.

I remember holding the hand of a young man thrown out of his home because his lover had died and his lover's good family locked him out taking all of his clothes. In support groups, we all shared the fact that someone needed to occupy a residence during memorial services because without that presence, the family would often arrive with a truck during that time and strip the place bare. I remember the truly good mothers and fathers who braought their sons to support groups. I remember the mother who came because her son wouldn't. And I remember how heartsick we were, again and again, when leadership would not lead.

I remember. The brave nurses who provided real care when little was known. And the sullen religious leaders who came to be tested anonymously fresh from condemning the use of condoms. I remember the good and the bad. I wish the good outweighed the bad. Well, maybe tomorrow.

Joe Lillich
Atlanta, Georgia

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you so much for producing such a frank program on the history of HIV. The message is a simple one: people need education to prevent transmissin of the virus. I continue to be disappointed and disgusted by how people who live with the disease are treated and how we ignore the simple fact that education is our best method of prevention. I hope that people in my generation may finally get through to people (general public and politicians) and open their eyes to the importance of comprehensive sexual education in the effort to prevent HIV transmission. Only when we confront the disease without stigmatizing it (and the people infected by it) will we finally be able to do something productive. Until then, the disenfranchised will continue to die and people who feel they are not at risk will continue to ignore those who truly need our help and compassion. I truly look forward to the second part of the series tomorrow night!

Christina Beach
Brookline, MA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I have lived with HIV for almost 20 years now.

Watching the pain and suffering on your program tonight brought tears to my eyes. But what had me curled up in a fetal position was the disgust, disrespect and total disregard that was shown in Washington.

It's a horrible thought but if only some of their children were afflicted maybe things would be different.

Jay F
Stoneham, Massachusetts

Dear FRONTLINE,

I have extreme gratitude towards Frontline for this eye-opening program. My frustrations could drowned me, but the one that weighs on me the most is that the United States is supposed to be the leader of the free world, but our government does not support citizens living. Isn't living the base to owning any freedom? Why cant the government and ourselves get past the moral red tape of who has HIV/AIDS and just help. Christianity's place in the world's view on HIV/AIDS infuriates me ("God hates Fags" and our leaders pretty much saying the same). How will God judge the man who denied help to his suffering children, who purposely aimed for these victims to suffer? We need to support each other: socially, emotionally, and technologically. We need to support research- because we cannot depend on our government.

Rachael Barron
Harvard, MA

Dear FRONTLINE,

One has to wonder how other countries can do HIV/AIDS Prevention covering ever aspect of prevention when this country(United States) has its attitudes towards sex so backwards. If we as prevention persons are to stem the rate of infection in the United States we need to support of those in power. We need the support of those who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. These people need to speak out and let their community know that there are only a few way to become infected. We need to be able to enter into schools and talk about condoms and their proper use as well as safe sex. We need this freedom to speak the facts to prevent further infection of HIV/AIDS. Other countries are further ahead of this country with open and frank talks.

Daniel Stone
Holton, Michigan

Dear FRONTLINE,

I believe that our only cure at this point for this terrible disease is education at this time. Unfortunately, often ignorance is strength, which gives way to more ignorance about AIDS.

Scott Helm
Danville, Kentucky

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posted may 30, 2006

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